Renowned wildlife researcher Lynn Rogers loses his permit to radio-collar wild bears

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  July-August 2013:

ELY,  Minnesota––Lynn Rogers,  74,   longtime director of the Wildlife Research Institute and the affiliated North American Bear Center in Ely,  Minnesota,  was on June 28,  2013 told by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that the permit he has held since 1999 to radio-collar wild bears will not be renewed.  

“It’s the end of my 46-year career,” Rogers told Brian Bakst of Associated Press.  Rogers,  who reportedly radio-collared and tracked as many as 15 bears per year,  had repeatedly clashed with the MDNR over his practice of feeding bears in order to study them at close range,  at risk of the bears becoming habituated to humans as food providers. Rogers favors an approach called diversionary feeding,  meant to accustom bears to seeking food in areas away from houses and campgrounds.  Widely practiced in the mid-20th century,  diversionary feeding fell out of favor partly because of the difficulty of doing it,  and partly because of incidents in which people who ventured into remote areas encountered dangerously habituated bears.

At least nine of Rogers’ collared bears have been shot by hunters since 2000,  including Hope,  whose birth was videotaped by a camera hidden in her mother’s den in January 2010.  Four of Rogers’ collared bears closely approached humans in 2011-2012,  one of whom was shot by an MDNR agent in August 2012 for lingering in an area where children were present.

Rogers for years unsuccessfully sought an amendment to Minnesota hunting regulations to protect radio-collared bears from being shot.  But,  stipulating that he was not opposed to all hunting,  or even just bear hunting,  Rogers helped to write Minnesota bear hunting regulations that allow hunters to shoot bears over bait piles,  a practice widely opposed as unsporting. Rogers contends that using bait piles gives hunters a better chance at killing a bear with a single shot,  and reduces the rate of bears escaping with severe wounds,  from which they often die later.


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